Nigerian oil vandalism may be by officials

Jan. 24, 2013 at 8:44 AM

ABUJA, Nigeria, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- A Nigerian oil company official said there were indications that public officials in the country may be involved in pipeline vandalism.

Nigerian newspaper Vanguard reports that a section of an oil pipeline carrying supplies from Lagos caught fire Wednesday. The report provided few details about any spills or casualties.

A senior official with the pipeline subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. told the newspaper the company suspected authorities at the local level may be involved with pipeline vandalism.

"In most of the cases, these community leaders and security agencies become vandals themselves, making the situation worse than it was before," he said on condition of anonymity. "They later join in the vandalism of the pipelines, becoming worse than the vandals we were pursuing."

Nigeria is among the top oil exporters in the region. The U.S. Energy Information Agency, however, reported recently that daily crude oil deliveries from Nigeria were down from summer 2012 by about 500,000 barrels compared to the same time last year. Nigeria gets 75 percent of its revenues from oil.

Vanguard adds that maritime safety officials were calling on international oil companies to do more to ensure their facilities were secured.

Pilfering, banditry and flooding have plagued the country's oil sector.

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